The London Book Fair attracted a strong showing of printers to Olympia in April. Few however, were UK printers with stands in the main exhibition space. Printers from China, Korea and Turkey vied for the attention of the publishers, designers and writers filling the aisles of the exhibition.
They were joined by a number of UK printers that had take the opportunity presented by the UK’s gathering of the book industry to have informal meetings with clients.
But some UK printers took space. The largest in terms of space was north London company Cloc Book Print. This was a third time at the show for the business which had moved into short digital book printing only four years previously as an adjunct to serving customers in the education and public sector.
“We have found it a very successful way to meet small independent publishers,” says Cloc general manager Paul Richmond. “We are not producing runs of hundreds of thousands , but we can be very competitive on our rates and quality.”
The company has both litho and digital, though focuses on digital for book customers. “We have 15 digital presses so can cater for all manner of books. We have most finishing in house, save for larger contracts when we have good partners for perfect binding.”
As well as printing for the independent publisher, the company can deliver fast turn arounds of smaller runs for larger companies needing top up quantities, or those for a launch, with quality that Richmond says is a close match to litho. “The first year we came here, we were not sure what to expect, but it has been a revelation,” he adds. “The share of revenue from books has increased from 5-10% a couple of years ago to 30-40% today.”
Printondemand Worldwide has been a regular at the show for some years, this year taking space among the Independent Publishers Group area. Its journey towards book of one publishing has now led to installation of a Screen Truepress 520HD and managing director Andy Cork was showing the quality that this inkjet press is able to deliver on standard offset papers.
“We thought that inkjet printed coffee table books would never be possible on standard offset papers,” says Cork. “We are showing exactly this, pushing the boundaries of what is possible. We are using Screen’s SC inks on offset coated papers with a quality that is better than cut sheet digital.”
The company has operated a previous generation of the Screen continuous feed inkjet press and ran a Xerox Trivor before installing the breakthrough inkjet press at the end of last year.
The level of quality is such that the company is migrating work from sheetfed machines to web, taking advantage of speed and better page rates on paper that does not carry an inkjet premium. The secret lies in Screen’s SC inks, he says.
“We are telling publishers now that our standard is your premium. The colour quality has been signed off as acceptable by two major publishers.” The Peterborough company is now working as European supplier to global distributor Baker & Taylor as part of the distribution business’s print on demand Publisher Services arm which launched in September last year.
A popular draw for all manner of visitors was the mountain of books on the Falcon stand. The Tenterden typesetting business was offering a hamper of Kent products to the visitor able to guess the number of books in its five foot high tower.
“It is a fantastic marketing tool,” says managing director Colyn Allsopp. “We end up with hundreds of business cards to sift through and we end up with a number of good leads as a result.”
The company was back at Olympia with the tower for the third time and despite the cost appeal of typesetting in India and other far flung locations, it attracts book work from both smaller and larger publishers. “Publishers do like the fact that we will be here when they call. We are in the same time zone and do not have a different set of religious or national holidays,” he says. “It means we can help them when they are working.”
Gomer Press had a constantly busy table top stand filled with appointments to learn about the investment in LED UV printing and what this means. The largest book printers stayed away as they have always done, striking deals over coffee instead. This applies to German, Italian and Spanish printers as well as the British. This left space free for Turkish printers to make a strong showing and they are jostling to become major print suppliers to UK publishers.
Cloc had one of the largest stands of the printers present where Paul Richmond explained the print on demand offer. It was the company's third appearance at the show.
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Printondemand Worldwide was asking visitors if they could distinguish between litho, cutsheet toner digital printing and inkjet printing from its new Screen TruepressJet 520 HD. Few could allowing the Peterborough company to expand its print on demand services to colour books.
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